The 5 Stages of Grief: Potty Training Edition

I am really not into the idea of potty training. I know this is silly because it’s just one of those milestones that whether it comes at you at 18 months or well past three is simply unavoidable. It just makes all my nerves go haywire. Typically my parenting style is as follows:

  1. A) Do all the research
  2. B) scour the internet
  3. C) talk to my trusted friends and family
  4. D) bore my husband to death with potential worst case scenarios
  5. E) feel super prepared
  6. F) cry about how unprepared I am for any and all parenting changes

But for potty training, I just can’t seem to do the slightest bit of research. No books. Nothing. Am I sick of shelling out cash for expensive diapers? Sure. But I am also not excited about knocking over carts in the grocery store to make it to the bathroom on time. My two and some change year old son has been showing signs of readiness and I have been going through the five stages of grief about the official end of his babyhood. So I have decide to keep a diary of our journey through my most dreaded parenting phase to date. I know there are a lot more mothering challenges to come that are far more challenging, but for some reason this is my toddler Everest.

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Actual text message between my husband and myself on our first attempt at potty training. And why this post was born.

Denial

“Mommy, I go potty.” “Are you sure you really have to?” Ok, maybe I am the worst parent ever. Maybe I am lazy. Maybe it’s the two kids nineteen months apart with the spouse that works a lot of weird hours. But I really love diapers. There are plenty of times when I wish I had my own on because a bathroom trip just isn’t gonna happen or for those moments when I really am not feeling very trusting of a post-partum sneeze with a full bladder.

Anger

Why? Why do you have to get big? I miss my tiny little nugget who always wants mommy to cuddle you. I know my job is to raise you to be well, not a jerk. And hopefully contribute something meaningful to society. I really do want you to spread your little bird wings and fly out of the nest at some point, but not today!

Bargaining

I will give you and M&M/sticker/sportscar if you go PeePee on the potty!!! That’s it. I have crossed over. It’s happening. We are doing this. Does Amazon Prime sell living room sized puppy piddle pads? I know you aren’t supposed to bribe, but how do you parent toddlers without bribery? Seriously, that is NOT rhetorical. How? Actually how?

Depression

Will my rugs smell like pee forever? Will we ever leave the house again? Will I forever do 16 loads of Thomas the Tank Engine 3T undies washing per day? I thought potty training meant an end to the diaper bag? Why am I now packing more crap to go out of the house? Four pairs of pants, three pairs of underwear, an extra pair of socks (if you don’t know why don’t ask), pull ups, a nighttime diaper, a rosary…I now need three diaper bags. No one else has ever dealt with toddler drama like this. We’ll just stay home until he goes to college. That’s the only rational answer. Sighhhhhh.

Acceptance

My sweet boy is big. He is mastering skills. First master of his own urinary tract, next the Nobel Prize! Well probably not, statistically speaking, but a mama can dream. Like all childhood milestones patience with ourselves and our little ones is key (or so I hear from my friends who aren’t as high strung as I am.) Was there a particular milestone that you dreaded for your children? Do you look back on it and laugh now?

Helpful Links Below

For more potty training humor follow me on instagram @motherhoodbymeredith

We had a very special experience at Chick-fil-A the other day involving defecation, a play place, and not enough wipes or patience. #momlife

A great collection of potty training must haves from my friend Brittany over at Southern Mama Guide: Potty Training Essentials

A great guide for younger trainees by my friend Laura Potty Training 101

And then for those of you with closer to threenagers like me Ugly Truths of Potty Training

Note: This is my current humorous take on my experience with motherhood and potty training. I am in no way attempting make light of true grief or the grief process. If you are suffering with grief or depression you are not alone and help is available.

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